Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

The Fukushima 50

with 4 comments

Between 50 and 70 employees—now known in English as the Fukushima 50—all in protective gear, were left at the plant to battle myriad problems. Some are assessing the damage and radiation levels caused by the explosions, while others cool stricken reactors with seawater to try to avert a potentially catastrophic release of radiation.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 15, 2011 at 7:23 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Bizarrely, I’ve only seen one article/editorial thus far that comments on the very understandable but absurd ‘decision’ to pull workers out of the crisis rather than assemble a massive, voluntary crew of, say, a 1,000. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but doesn’t the situation warrant this, and more? The magnitude of this tragedy seems to be effecting rational, ethical decision making, ie, how many lives are worth preventing a catastrophe of this proportion? Sadly, at this point it might not matter how many workers are involved but I can’t help but wonder what might’ve happened 6 days ago if 500 skilled workers backed by 5,000 troops had gone in, maybe even sacrificed their lives, and done whatever it took to cool these reactors?

    john jenkins

    March 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    • I’ve seen fairly frequent comparisons to Chernobyl Liquidators. I don’t know that we can say yet whether sending x more people to their death would have made things better. There are impossible choices everywhere we look right now.

      gerrycanavan

      March 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  2. i think we all shall say “thank you!”

    theFukushima50.org

    March 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    • “Thank you” even with the exclamation point hardly seems enough. Unimaginable. As Gerry says “impossible choices everywhere,” and the impossibility of escaping the tragically obvious: decisive engineering and technological decisions made in deference to cost/profit and not safety, an unwillingness to engineer truly fail-safe technology. NASA, its failures not withstanding, comes to mind, particularly the Apollo program, in that 50 years ago when they were building the first onboard digital computer the engineering question was constantly: how can we design this so that it doesn’t fail. A 98% success rate isn’t good enough. Anyway, paltry as it sounds, my prayers are with the Japanese, with all of us.

      john jenkins

      March 18, 2011 at 11:04 am


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